25 States Still Prosecute Child Sex Trafficking Victims

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Our Children are being victimized every minute of every day.

Why Are Child Sex Trafficking Victims
Being Arrested?

Before you all begin this post, I want to say a few things.  On April 17, 2015, I published a post “Planned Parenthood Caught Giving Children Abortions“, and the sub-title was “U.S. Jails Sex-Trafficked Kids“.

I was able to utilize one of our new resources, Demanding Justice Report 2014, a study which was led by Ms Linda Smith, President and Founder, Shared Hope International, U.S. Congress 1995-99, Washington State Senate/House 1983-94.

This was a study of supply and demand of Sex Slaves, but especially about Child Sex Slaves.  We learned that the Law is really good about arresting the victim, but they also arrest the slavers sometimes.  Although they seldom EVER ARREST ANY BUYERS OF CHILD SEX.  You are probably asking yourself why, as you read this, and the answer is simple:  because the buyers are many times people in high places.

If you read this report, this Judge you are about to read about sounds just like what Ms Linda Smith talks about, CRONYS and GOOD OL’ BOYS.  This report is the first place I ever heard this called a “VICTIMLESS CRIME”, which made my blood boil white-hot.

Here we are 4 years later, and it is hard to believe 25 states still allow commercially sexually exploited minors to be charged and prosecuted for prostitution and human trafficking offenses despite federal and state laws that recognize these same minors as victims of child sex trafficking.
Robert StrongBow

Last month a judge in Kansas made national headlines for erroneously claiming that two girls — just 13 and 14-years-old — were “aggressors” in a case where a 67-year-old man paid them to have sex.

“So, she’s uncomfortable for something that she voluntarily went to, voluntarily took her top off for, and was paid for?” said Kansas Judge Michael Gibbens.

“I wonder, what kind of trauma there really was to this victim under those peculiar circumstances?”

The public responded with outrage, but the issue of children who are victims of sex trafficking being charged for prostitution and minor crimes they were forced to commit is nothing new.

Writing in a piece for Wichita State University, Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm from the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, Wichita State University and Linda Smith from Shared Hope International explain:

As a society, we must ask, why did money sanitize what, in any other circumstance, would be considered child rape?  And more concerning, how did the exchange of money shift the narrative so dramatically so as to characterize children as aggressors in the crime of which they were victims?

The answers lie in the paradox in which victims of child sex trafficking are legally apprehended and consequently, socially stigmatized.  Twenty-five states, including Kansas, still allow commercially sexually exploited minors to be charged and prosecuted for prostitution and human trafficking offenses despite federal and state laws that recognize these same minors as victims of child sex trafficking.

This paradox still exists despite an increase in awareness, and specific laws to protect children from such offenses over the last couple of decades.

Criminalizing youth who have experienced the horrors of commercial sexual exploitation, and oftentimes survived traumatic experiences that predate the exploitation, is not only the gravest of injustices but also prevents survivors from receiving critical services and ongoing, specialized care.

Notably, the age of consent in Kansas is 16, meaning sexual contact between an adult and the minors in this case was not consensual.  Still, comments on social media surrounding this case tried to place blame on these two girls, calling them “delinquent,” “out of control,” “promiscuous,” and “prostitutes.”

As Countryman-Roswurm and Smith write, “as Kansans we must ask ourselves: How do we really view individuals who have been victimized by and survived human trafficking?  If we truly care, how do we shift our culture to recognize all survivors of sexual violence, including child sex trafficking, as unequivocally blameless in the conduct that constitutes their very victimization?”